Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Shooting Stars

… and for once, it’s not about politics. It’s supposed to be a great year for the Perseid meteor shower, the peak is tonight/tomorrow morning before dawn, and (cross fingers) local weather forecast is for a clear sky. Anybody else gonna be outside looking up tonight?

And apart from the eternal mysteries, what’s on the agenda for the day?

84 replies
  1. 1
    raven says:

    I knew if I posted SOMETHING the auto post would trigger!

  2. 2
    Anne Laurie says:

    @raven: Hah, not an “auto-post” this time — just took me forever to find a topic I could write up on my way to bed!

    Is the weather going to cooperate with starwatching in your area tonight?

  3. 3
    raven says:

    @Anne Laurie: It may, we had that huge storm and all kinds of damage Monday but it looks good (unless you want rain) for a few days!

  4. 4
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Yeah, I’ll be up for them, like I am most every morning. So will my wife. Temps are supposed to be in the lower 60s so I’ll probably even build a fire for her. We’ll have clear skies so they should (keeping fingers crossed ’cause you never know with meteor showers) be good.

  5. 5

    I will be up, too, but with all the light pollution from the Miami metropolitan area, it will be hard to see, and I’m not about to go out to the Everglades to get a look. But I’ll give it a try.

  6. 6
    Schlemazel says:

    Meh, several years ago the reports of the leonid meteor shower was going to be the bestest ever. We all got excited so we bundled up (Its November, temps in the 40s) and headed out of town to a park with plenty of dark. Sat there all night and saw nothing out of the ordinary. It was a huge let down for all of us. When ever I am out and about in the country after dark I always take a few minutes to look up & see whats going on but given that its a work night and predicting these things is less accurate than predicting next weeks weather I am not going to see this one.

  7. 7
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    I may try the time lapse program on my camera, it takes a pic at an interval, so it could be interesting.

  8. 8
    Debbie(aussie) says:

    Hopping to adopt a puppy. This one if link works

  9. 9
    Zinsky says:

    I’m not so sure that seeing more meteors streaking through Earth’s atmosphere is necessarily a good thing, since it probably also means a greater likelihood of one striking the Earth. Ask the people in Russia how well that worked out near Chelyabinsk.

    Just sayin’….

  10. 10
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Schlemazel: Yeah, you never know. The best I ever saw was a Perseid but that’s no guarantee this one will be good.

  11. 11
    Schlemazel says:

    SURE! Try to get my hopes up!

    I >get< to travel to CA next week. Its a trip I don't want, and shouldn't have, to take but have been told by my management is necessary. So I filled out the official request including the cost estimate & this AM the big boss denied it because there was no cost estimate on it . . . the email announcing the decision shows the request that includes the cost estimate. Every day work becomes more like a Dilbert cartoon, just one with no punchline

  12. 12
    Schlemazel says:

    I have seen some good ones while camping out in the sticks as well as aurora and the ‘backbone’ of the milky way. It is very moving to think about those things and what they really mean while watching them. Meteors are like fireflies, surprise little twinkles. But it is not convenient this year.

  13. 13
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Schlemazel: I grew up in the Bronx; despite the Hayden Planetarium, I was never particularly interested in stargazing. Spousal Unit grew up in the boonies of upper lower Michigan; he can reliably identify most of the constellations, when they’re visible.

    Best meteor display I’ve ever seen was when we took our blankets & lawn chairs out to Salisbury Beach, about an hour’s drive away. Second-best (last year, in fact) was… at a freeway rest area, half-way up to Salisbury, our chairs positioned between idling semis, when the S.U. ran out of patience.

  14. 14
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Debbie(aussie): Ooo! Mazel tov — she looks to be a tiny, adorable, challenging handful!

  15. 15
    Ramalama says:

    I once saw the Aurora Borealis while getting ready to commute back to Boston to work (in Quebec). I didn’t know what was going on. I reasoned that those lights could not possibly be coming from Montreal, partiers till 4am not unheard of. The lights could not come from Mont Tremblant, because no one stayed up that late…they all had to ski or mountain bike the next morning. I did not know wtf was going on but the lights seemed to be coming from within the sky. I thought briefly that the world was ending, but then chastised myself for being melodramatic. Got in my car, drove 1/2 day back to work. It was only the following week when I heard some friends exclaim at how cool the Borealis that the world hadn’t ended, duh.

  16. 16
    Schlemazel says:

    @Anne Laurie:
    I never got the hang of constellations. There are a few I can find but most of them are a mystery to me. The very best I can remember was with our sons Boy Scout troop one mid-December. They kept coming in waves but it was about -10F and we were all frozen stiff while watching.

    As a prairie kid the thing I can’t wrap my head around is growing up in the Bronx. I can’t imagine how different life would be!

  17. 17
    Jeffro says:

    Very excited about the Perseid shower! I just can’t decide to stay up late or get up early – no way I am doing both.

    Also excited to see this dilemma:

  18. 18
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Schlemazel: I’ve been able to see the Milky Way with surprising consistency this summer. Usually the humidity is enough to turn it into little more than a faint glow or smear. During the winter I can see it on any clear night.

    I count myself fortunate living where I do.

  19. 19
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Debbie(aussie): She’s cute. Wishes for many happy years together.

  20. 20
    Debbie(aussie) says:

    @Anne Laurie:
    Thanks Anne, so looking forward to meeting her :)
    ETA: like John puppy school will be in my future

  21. 21
    bystander says:

    The only times I’ve seen the Perseids were on Fire Island, where there is relatively little ambient light. I’ll be in NYC tonight so no Perseids for me.

  22. 22
    bemused says:


    Was it her adorable ears that caught your eye? A damn cute puppy.

  23. 23
    RK says:

    Sanders is beating Clinton in New Hampshire. Gotta smile at that.

  24. 24
    Old Dan and Little Anne says:

    My wife and I sat in our driveway 4 summers ago and saw about 70+ meteors. This was in western NY.

  25. 25
    satby says:

    @Schlemazel: You work for my old company, don’t you?

  26. 26
    satby says:

    While I am in temporary long term exile from sweet home Chicago, one of the good things about living out here in the sticks is the star gazing. Should be cool and clear, so I’m hauling the hammock out to watch tonight. The Milky Way was clearly visible last night, I looked for meteors but was too tired to stay out long enough, and at 10 pm it was dark but not as pitch black as it gets later. It got down to 58 last night, hoping for a repeat so the mosquitoes aren’t around.

  27. 27
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: (envy)

    The best view I’ve ever had of the Milky Way was out on a boat on Table Rock Lake one day night (duh) in the summer in the early ’80s. It was breath-taking – so very bright, so very many stars.


  28. 28
    Baud says:

    I wish this was next week so I could see it.

  29. 29
    danielx says:

    Supposed to be a beautiful clear night, so I may see it provided I can remain awake……

  30. 30
    JPL says:

    @Debbie(aussie): What a cute pup. I hope it works out, because I know you’ll keep us updated.

  31. 31
    Baud says:

    Zander reported this a few weeks ago.

    Five years after branding itself the “lean forward” cable news network for liberals, MSNBC is taking a step back.

    The channel is gutting the bulk of its daytime schedule of partisan political talk in favor of straight news. Brian Williams, who earlier this year was removed as anchor of NBC’s “Nightly News” for embellishing his reporting résumé, is expected to play a prominent role in the makeover.

    Also drafted to help jump start MSNBC is “Meet the Press” anchor Chuck Todd, who will anchor a daily political news show in the afternoons. Among the programs MSNBC is saying goodbye to: “The Ed Show,” anchored by Ed Schultz and “Now with Alex Wagner.”

  32. 32
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym says:

    @Schlemazel: I am very happy to note, once again, that the only problem I have with my job is that I don’t get enough hours. That’s it. Everything else is good. The job makes sense and isn’t stressful. I have a right wing nut for a boss, but he’s a reliable, competent right wing nut, who is okay with a reliable, competent damned socialist working there. His boss is perfectly reasonable.

    I have an awesome job.

  33. 33
    JPL says:

    @Baud: Morning joe survives! What a shame.

  34. 34
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Baud: I’m missing Alex Wagner.

  35. 35
    PaulW says:

    seems MSNBC is shifting just as the Presidential elections are kicking into gear. Bringing in Chuck Todd, a prominent Beltway talking head, is not a good sign.

    as for what I’m doing today: going mad. Coming up with drinking rules for the Democratic debate in October. trying, struggling, damn the man to finish a short story just to get it out of the way before Labor Day! /headdesk

  36. 36
    Betty Cracker says:

    Looks like clouds are supposed to start building this evening, so the meteor shower will probably be obscured here, damn it. The best meteor shower I ever saw was around 15 years ago. I was living in town at the time, so you’d think the ambient lighting would have washed it out. But it was incredible. I just laid back in a lawn chair and watching them zinging by overhead for an hour or so.

    @Debbie(aussie): What a cutie!

  37. 37
    Debbie(aussie) says:

    It was her face. So hope everything works out. Apparently she came from a hoarder, so the rescue group are unsure of parentage, but she had nothing binge than a mini foxie. I think she looks like she has a bit of JRT in there somewhere. Just so adorably cute.

  38. 38
    Baud says:

    @JPL: @BillinGlendaleCA:

    I never watch the afternoon shows, so this move is irrelevant to me. But I’m not enamored with the replacements.

  39. 39
    mai naem mobile says:

    Woke up AM to Mornin Ho from leaving teevee on MSNBC on last night. Nicole Wallace is trying to convince people that Obama is responsible for the ME problems,not Bush moron. And Mika is doing her best Ho impression pushing the Hillary Email story.

  40. 40
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym: I’m happy it worked out for you. I know it was a long time getting to this point.

  41. 41
    Joel says:

    Trumps pivot on PP shows the (political) advantages of having no shame. He can pander on just about every popular issue.

  42. 42
    WereBear says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym: I’m so happy for you! It great to have things looking up… instead of you looking up from the floor :)

  43. 43
    NotMax says:

    Overcast ahead of the nearby Hurricane Hilda*, so not much sky watching.

    *which will bypass us but to the south; some heavy showers, localized flooding and thunderstorms are expected later in the week.

  44. 44
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Zinsky: Large impactors are not the same thing as shower meteors. These are just little particles released along the orbit of a comet, in this case Comet Swift-Tuttle. The comet itself is going to make a fairly close pass by Earth in the year 2126, but it’s no threat for thousands of years at least.

  45. 45
    gene108 says:

    Watching CSPAN. There was a Weekly Standard staff writer on. He was trying to knock Trump down a peg.

    Every call was from a Trump supporter basically telling him establishment Republicans are all hat and no cattle and to get bent; it is Trump or bust.

    He was clearly flustered.

    For me it was just enjoying the Schadenfreude as the Republicans and their media enablers are getting consumed by the rabble they have kept roused to 11 for the last couple of decades.

    They made keeping the base constantly outraged a priority.

    The base is like a druggy with a “rage fix” that keeps needing a higher level of outrage fed at them to keep the same high. And now the Donald comes in and gives them a hit of outrage turned up to 12 and just blowed the right-wing establishment away.

  46. 46
    MomSense says:


    Look at those ears!!!

  47. 47
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Debbie(aussie): She’s too precious. I forsee a lot of spoiling and pampering in her future.

  48. 48
    Jeffro says:


    The base is like a druggy with a “rage fix” that keeps needing a higher level of outrage fed at them to keep the same high. And now the Donald comes in and gives them a hit of outrage turned up to 12 and just blowed the right-wing establishment away.

    Possible chink in the Trump armor here, though, with that crazy outraged base:

  49. 49
    Betty Cracker says:

    Has anyone else noticed that Senator Claire McCaskill has been weirdly high profile lately?

  50. 50
    JPL says:

    @Betty Cracker: Maybe she is hawking a book because I don’t see her running for a higher office.

  51. 51
    rikyrah says:

    Democrat wins runoff for Brookhaven House seat

     11:29 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015 | Filed in: Local News

    Former Georgia Tech quarterback Taylor Bennett defeated former Brookhaven Mayor J. Max Davis in a Tuesday runoff for the state House of Representatives, switching control of the Northern Perimeter district to a Democrat.

    Bennett captured a seat that had previously been held by Republican Mike Jacobs, who was appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal to serve as a judge in DeKalb County State Court.

    Bennett and Davis, a Republican, were competing in a runoff after no candidate received a majority of votes in a four-way special election last month to represent House District 80.

    Bennett will represent a district that includes parts of Brookhaven, Chamblee and Sandy Springs in DeKalb and Fulton counties.

    Bennett’s election gives Democrats control of Fulton County’s legislative delegation, where Republicans had held a 13-12 majority.

  52. 52
    rikyrah says:



    Jeb Bush sees disaster in Iraq, blames Obama and Clinton
    08/12/15 08:01 AM—UPDATED 08/12/15
    08:09 AM
    By Steve Benen

    The lead sentence in Politico’s report on Jeb Bush last night read, ” Does Jeb Bush really want to refight the Iraq War?” It’s best not to rush past the question too quickly.

    The Republican presidential hopeful’s brother launched one of the most disastrous wars in American history. The 2016 candidate hopeful then surrounded himself with his brother’s team of failed foreign-policy advisers – and described his brother as his adviser on U.S. policy in the Middle East.

    One of Jeb Bush’s most cringe-worthy failures as a candidate was trying to answer a simple question about Iraq – he gave four competing answers over the course of four days – and at last week’s debate, the former governor still seemed wholly unprepared to discuss the issue.

    It’s against this backdrop that Jeb Bush decided to pick a fight – over developments in a country his brother invaded under false pretenses and then failed in every possible way to manage responsibly. The New York Times reported:

    The war in Iraq, which dominated American presidential politics in 2004 and 2008, has returned as an issue in 2016. This time, the argument is not over whether the United States should have gone to war, but rather how the Obama administration sought to end it.

    Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor seeking the Republican presidential nomination, issued a blistering attack on Tuesday on the Obama administration’s handling of Iraq and terrorism issues, asserting that Hillary Rodham Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, had “stood by” as secretary of state as the situation in Iraq deteriorated.

    Obama and Clinton, Bush insisted last night, “stood by as that hard-won victory by American and allied forces [in Iraq] was thrown away.”

  53. 53
    rikyrah says:

    Posted without comment


    Poll: Sanders surges ahead of Clinton in NH

    A stunning new poll has Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) beating presumptive Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire.

    Sanders has eclipsed Clinton by a 44 to 37 percent margin, according to a new Franklin Pierce University/Boston Herald poll that was first reported by the Boston newspaper Tuesday evening.

    The previous FPU/Herald poll taken in March had Sanders trailing Clinton 44 to 8.

    Today’s poll is the first to show Sanders, whose liberal policies are popular with the Democratic base, ahead of Clinton in New Hampshire.

    And it comes as reports surfaced that Clinton will turn over her private email server that she used while leading the State Department to Justice Department officials.

    Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden garnered 9 percent, with the other remaining candidates hovering at around 1 percent, according to the poll

  54. 54
    raven says:

    @rikyrah:”The Bush Administration later sought an agreement with the Iraqi government, and in 2008 George W. Bush signed the U.S.–Iraq Status of Forces Agreement. It included a deadline of 31 December 2011, before which “all the United States Forces shall withdraw from all Iraqi territory”.[11][12][13] The last U.S. troops left Iraq on 18 December 2011, in accordance with this agreement”

  55. 55
    Betty Cracker says:

    @JPL: She is hawking a book, but the coverage seems to go beyond that. She would never run against Clinton. But if she knows something we don’t…

    Never mind. I’m being paranoid.

  56. 56
    maurinsky says:

    My youngest daughter leaves for college on Saturday, she and a bunch of her friends are planning to climb the highest point in our town in the wee hours of the morning to see if they can see meteors.

  57. 57
    Jeffro says:

    @Betty Cracker: She’s probably got dreams of being in the VP slot on the Dem ticket and is just trying to raise her visibility.

  58. 58
    PaulW says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    well I’m hawking a book too, but nobody’s inviting ME or my fellow W4AS writers onto the networks for a shill.


    By the by, to the people who offered to download “Stories for All Seasons,” how was it? I’ve been warned not to worry about reviews, but I’ve personally gotten so few of them that anything – even a bad one – will be accepted in good faith. ;)

  59. 59
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Oh my, she is really cute! Good luck!

  60. 60
    PaulW says:


    for some reason they’re grooming Julian Castro, because 1) he’s Texan so they need the geographic balance, 2) he’s Latino, 3) he’s not Cuomo, 4) he’s young so they want to boost his profile now (shades of Quayle IMHO), 5) his name fits on a bumper (I mean, sorry Hickenlooper, you’re probably great as Presidential material but take it from me that name is too long. Look at Eisenhower: he ran as IKE).

  61. 61
    Jeffro says:



    Seconded. Sounds like a very Rovian approach – treat your main weakness like a strength (in addition to treating your opponent’s main strength as a weakness) but in this case Dubya & Cheney so clearly screwed up w/ Iraq that no amount of spin’s going to change most folks’ perception.

    Hey Jeb!: if you want to break out of the pack, you’re gonna have to try a little harder than this. Challenge Trump to a 1-on-1 debate or something.

  62. 62
    sharl says:

    @Betty Cracker: I don’t follow a wide selection of media – no TV, just radio and online – so I wouldn’t notice even if McCaskill is getting a lot of coverage. It may be that she has quietly cultivated media, perhaps in a more gentler and subtle way than her colleague Sen. Walnuts (R-Rageytown). If she’s always accessible to media, and provides “good pull quotes”, that’s over half the game right there!

    I could have sworn I heard her say “strategery” on Monday’s Diane Rehm Show, which cracked me up mightily (yeah, I’m easily amused).

  63. 63
    Jeffro says:

    @PaulW: yeah, Castro does keep getting mentioned. I think the Post had an article very recently about Kaine, Warner, and Ken Salazar as possible VP material too. There’s a lot of great choices out there.

  64. 64
    Esme's Mom says:

    @Debbie(aussie): You are getting first prize in the Cute division! The ratio of EARS to little button nose is killing me! Congrats.

  65. 65
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Ramalama: Wow, that’s really cool.

    I grew up with the orange light of Boston overhead basically every night so I totally get assuming that you’re seeing city lights.

    (Heck, just to mix it up, some business bought klieg lights that would play across the clouds. Dark? What’s that?)

  66. 66
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I was driving home one night in North Central Florida and got to the top of a hill and just pulled over and opened the door. I could see the whole sky.

  67. 67
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @rikyrah: Good news. The cracks have been apparent in GA for a few years now, and GA has some amazing D organizers.

  68. 68
    Another Holocene Human says:


    Obama and Clinton, Bush insisted last night, “stood by as that hard-won victory by American and allied forces [in Iraq] was thrown away.”

    Apparently echoing Adolf Hitler’s greatest political hits is de rigueur for this crowd.

  69. 69
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Betty Cracker: MO was national news this week, and she’s asking to be on, good timing?

  70. 70
    Another Holocene Human says:

    Antonio French was interviewed on the radio the other day, no sign he’s running for higher office.

  71. 71
    gene108 says:


    I do not think Trump can grab the Fundie vote. He’s never going to be able to out Fundie guys like Cruz or Carson.

    I bet he knows a bunch of tri-state money types, who’d gladly jump back into bed with Republicans, if they could get the Fundies to STFU.

    I also bet there are a bunch on Independents, who were Republican, across the country, who do not make abortion a central concern in their lives.

    And there are probably some women, who might consider voting Republican, if Republicans took a step back from being the party of forced birthers.

    The Fundies are loud, but they are not numerically superior. Like good Leninists, they use superior organization and engagement to overwhelm the majority. Unlike Lenin, they are not able to dump their opponents into the Gulag, so their control on the levers of power may not be as solid.

    Also, too given the backlash Trump supporters stirred up at Fox, after the debate, I think Trump can set his own narrative and not worry about any crap from the right-wing noise machine.

  72. 72
    Elizabelle says:

    Thanks for head’s up about the Perseids. Thinking on driving to Skyline Drive tonight to watch them.

  73. 73
    Elizabelle says:

    @Debbie(aussie): She looks a bit like Karen and Iggy’s Muppet.

    Wishing you success. You could be a great home for that lil terrier.

  74. 74
    ThresherK says:

    I will have to see these, or at least try*.

    *There are bears in the woods near my home, so I won’t drag out the cliche of “die trying”.

  75. 75
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Another Holocene Human: @rikyrah:
    Obama and Clinton, Bush insisted last night, “stood by as that hard-won victory by American and allied forces [in Iraq] was thrown away.”
    Apparently echoing Adolf Hitler’s greatest political hits is de rigueur for this crowd.

    It really doesn’t occur to any of the cast of Morning Joe to ask how, if we had “victory” in 2007, it could be “thrown away” in 2011?

  76. 76
    dmbeaster says:

    @Schlemazel: The Perseids always put on a good show, though it gets good after midnight. The Leonids are highly variable but have put on the best shows ever, though most years are a bust. Predicting when they might be great has evolved from pure guesswork to informed guesswork, at best. Still, dont let your Leonid experience sour you on the Perseids. Realize they average only one per minute (the Leonids have gone as high as 100-200 per minute, a true meteor storm), but there will be several bright ones traveling half the sky and leaving a glowing train, sometimes with noticeable color.

  77. 77
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Betty Cracker: Has anyone else noticed that Senator Claire McCaskill has been weirdly high profile lately?

    Doesn’t strike me as weird. Hasn’t she always been a Beltway favorite? A “moderate” Democrat from a purple state? I don’t have a whole lot of fondness for her, but I’ve always thought that she would be a media-plausible presidential candidate. Dianne Feinstein, JR

  78. 78
    Poopyman says:

    @Elizabelle: Well, you’re about an hour and a half closer than I am. Go for it.

    I’ll be going up with a few friends for our annual Perseid trip this weekend. The trip away has become more the event than the meteor shower itself, so we don’t mind going off-peak.

    BTW people, we were seeing a good number of Perseids Saturday night. While the shower has a fairly steep peak, you’ll still be able to see them for another week or so in steadily decreasing numbers.

  79. 79
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @RK: this poll was discussed in an earlier thread – it’s purely a ratfucking exercise by Andrew Card and Marlin Fitzwater.

  80. 80
    Paul in KY says:

    @Debbie(aussie): Hope you get her!

  81. 81
    Paul in KY says:

    @rikyrah: Yippie!

  82. 82
    Tree With Water says:

    In the 1960’s, the 49ers use to print tickets on Christopher Milk cartons, a local company that had bought up an entire section for kids to enjoy games (after first drinking their milk, of course). Flash forward to 2015, where the goose has gone mad with greed:

    “A 49ers season ticket holder has sued the team, saying a new ticket policy unfairly requires fans who want to sell single-game tickets more than 72 hours before kickoff to make those sales over Ticketmaster, with stiff fees for both seller and buyer… The suit accuses the 49ers and Ticketmaster, the nation’s largest entertainment ticketing company, of “anticompetitive practices to dominate and restrict ticket sales” in violation of federal antitrust laws”.

  83. 83
    Elizabelle says:

    @Poopyman: Enjoy your Perseid weekend. Ritual is good.

    Also love hearing we have a few more nights to catch some meteors. I remember a terrific Leonid shower years ago, when my nephew was a toddler and we were all out in a field, watching. So many meteors, the dog was watching too.

  84. 84
    mtiffany says:

    Anybody else gonna be outside looking up tonight?

    Yes! First time in over twenty years I’m living somewhere with dark skies and the weather forecast is for clear skies all night.

Comments are closed.